Monday, October 31, 2011

The Pentacle Pendant by Stephen M. DeBock

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Review: Claire Delaney is a senior in college when she meets Lukas. Lukas decides he loves her shortly after they meet and decides to turn her into a werewolf. Together they are test subjects for a doctor trying to find a "cure" but Lukas calls it a gift. Werewolves are not the only paranormals out there and it quickly becomes very tense.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Flashback Friday: Evermore by Alyson Noel

This week's flashback Friday review is on one of my giveaways. I thought it was appropriate to publish it this week since it has the whole Halloween theme going... kinda. Well, paranormal anyways. Those of you who may be new to my blog, Flashback Fridays is when I get to review a book that is not a new release. There are so many great older books out there and I always receive new releases from publishers and authors so this is my chance to review some of those. :)

Genre: YA - Paranormal - Romance

Review: Ever has recently lost her entire family in a car accident and is moved from her home to live with her aunt in California. Not only is her home and family different but she has some new abilities after the accident that she hadn't counted on. She is suddenly able to hear people's thoughts, see dead people, and see aura's so she tunes them out the best she can -- with shades and ear-buds giving her the title of "freak" at school. Then all the voices go silent when she comes into contact with the "new guy", Damen. She needs to learn how to control all the stimuli around her and figure out who this Damen is and what he is and why everything stops when he's around.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Yankee Doodle Dixie by Lisa Patton

Genre: Fiction/ Chick-lit

Review: Leelee Satterfield sells her restaurant and inn in Vermont and returns to her home town in the south with her two little girls and divorced. Unfortunately, she leaves her heart in Vermont as she tries to make a new life in Tennessee. Her three best friends are incredibly meddlesome and lucky for Leelee that they are. As Leelee's life falls apart again they have to step in as the Gladys Kravitz Agency and help their friend find the second chance at love and life that she's been searching for.

This was such a refreshing story. I love, love, love Leelee's three friends and the way the four of them interact. The book was fun and it held my attention. My hubby gave me some strange looks when I would laugh out loud and when I tried to explain it to him... well, it just didn't make much sense out of context. :) It was a fun story though with many laugh out loud parts. There was some profanity in it. It mainly depended on the character so a few paragraphs would be heavy profanity and then there would be pages and pages of none. Overall, this was a very fun work.

This was the sequel to Whistlin' Dixie in a Nor'easter but I followed along perfectly; there was enough backstory that I wasn't lost at all.

Author: Patton actually got the idea to write this series when she moved back to the south from Vermont and realized that it would make a good story. (Personally, I think she was right.) She works as a tour guide for Franklin on Foot in Franklin, Tennessee where the Battle of Franklin was waged. She is also the mother of two boys, Michael and Will, and a Havanese dog named Rosie. She manages to write in her "spare time". (As a mother myself, that spare time doesn't come easily so this is impressive to me.) She grew up in Memphis, TN and graduated from The University of Alabama.

Rating: **** Three Stars

This was a complimentary copy from the publisher through the Goodreads Advanced Readers Program given to me for my honest review.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Desktop Monday

Spooktacular Giveaway Hop

Yay!! It is that time of year again. Is everyone else as surprised as I am that it's already Halloween? Well, I Am A Reader, Not a Writer and The Diary of a Bookworm have teamed up to host a *switch to Transylvanian accent* Spooktacular Giveaway Hop. =o)
I have three books that I am giving away and all of them came from the used bookstore so I'm super excited that I found such awesome ones. =o) So, yes, you read that right --- THERE WILL BE THREE WINNERS!!! :) Giveaway runs until 11:59 Halloween night. I will use to pick the winner and they will be notified via e-mail so make sure your e-mail is correct. =o)

The back of the book reads, "Armand until now has played a small role in the Vampire Chronicles. Here he assumes center stage, relating his five hundred years of life to fledgling vampire David Talbot, who plays amanuensis to Armand as he did to Lestat ... It's not just the epic plot but Rice's voluptuary worldview that's the main attraction ... Elegant narrative has always been her hallmark ... Rice is equally effective in showing how Armand eventually loses his religion and becomes "the vagabond angel child of Satan," living under Paris cemeteries and foundling the Grand Guignol-ish Theatre des Vampires. In the twentieth century, a rehabilitated Armand regains faith but falls in love with two children who save his life. By the conclusion of Armand, the pupil has become the mentor."

 From the back of the book we read, "Seventeen year old actress Kelley Winslow always thought faeries were just something from childhood stories. Then she meets Sonny Flannery. He's a changeling -- a mortal taken as an infant and raised among Faerie -- and within short order he's turned Kelley's heart inside out and her life upside down.
For Kelly's beloeved Central Park isn't just a park -- it's a gateway between her ordinary city and the Faerie's dangerous, bewitching Otherworld. Now Kelley's eyes are opening not just to the Faerie that surround her, but to the heritage that awaits her... a destiny both wondrous and strange."

 The back of the book reads, "After a horrible accident claims the lives of her family, sixteen year old Ever Bloom can see people's auras, hear their thoughts, and know someone's entire life story by touching them. Going out of her way to avoid human contact and suppress her abilities, she has been branded a freak at her new high school -- but everything changes when she meets Damen Auguste.
Damen is gorgeous, exotic, and wealthy. He's the only one who can silence the noice and random energy in her head -- wielding a magic so intense, it's as though he can peer straight into her sould. As Ever is drawn deeper into his enticing world of secrets and mystery, she's left with more questions than answers. And she has no idea just who he really is -- or what he is. The only thing she knows to be true is that she's falling deeply and helplessly in love with him."

Friday, October 21, 2011

Flashback Friday: Fairest by Gail Carson Levine

It's Flashback Friday again. The day that I review a book that is not a new release. Sorry that I've been a bit behind this week in my reviews... I have a good excuse. At least, I think it's a good excuse. I had oral surgery earlier this week and I thought it would be a great time to read but little did I know that the drugs would all just make me sleepy so... I got behind. Sorry. So... anyways, here's the flashback Friday review.
Genre: YA - Fantasy - Fairy Tales

Review: This is set in the same world as, the better known story, Ella Enchanted (if you have only seen the movie then I totally recommend reading that book too). The fairy Lucinda is at it again, giving gifts that no one really wants. But Aza has a gift that's all her own -- the gift of singing. In the Kingdom of Ayortha Aza is shunned because she is far from the fairest of them all but in the Ontio Castle, the land of the singers, her voice is captivating and the Queen wants it to be hers while the prince finds himself drawn to it. This is the story of self discovery for the young lady Aza who may not be beautiful but her voice can melt the heart of the one she loves.

This story was a take on the classic tale of Snow White and I loved what Levine did with it. She and Shannon Hale both do such amazing things with fairy tales. I recommend reading them all. I was a bit disappointed with this one at first because it was soooo different from the classic story but as I continued reading it I couldn't help but to fall in love with the characters and the story.

Author: Gail Carson Levine was born in New York City in 1947. She, her husband, and her Airedale, Baxter all reside in a two hundred year old farmhouse in New York State.

Rating: *** Three Stars

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wednesday's Weekly Giveaways

So, here's a list of the giveaways given out by different bloggers hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer. So, enter to win some free books!! YAY!! :) Make sure you check it regularly b/c it grows every day. :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Beauty: An Extraordinary Tale by Teresa M. Wilkins

Genre: Fiction - Fantasy

Review: Sherina, a young priestess and princess, was captured by the Lizarian people. Through her years as a captive she fell in love with one of their own, Barush. Together they had a daughter, Beauty. Beauty wasn't like the other kids... she was human but had a blue tail. She also had the powers of her priestess mother and the unfortunate ability to read minds so she knew exactly what others thought about her differences. Through battles and adventures she discovers what is truly important in her life and is able to accept herself as the true beauty her mother knew she was from the moment she was born.

Honestly, this book took me 100 pages to get into. I had to struggle through those before it finally started getting interesting. It's 368 pages though. The first 100 pages were about Beauty's grandfather and parents. Finally, she was born and it started getting interesting and holding my attention. There were a few minor errors in it and the writing style of the author took some getting used to. She did a lot of telling but there were parts of it that had some great showing but mostly this book was telling so the story went very fast. Maybe that was good since there was so much information in it. I think this would have been a great trilogy. Overall, this is a beautiful story with a gorgeous cover and a great message! :)

Author: I have really had a hard time finding any information on this author. The most information I can find is what's on the back of the book. Wilkins was born in Pretoria, South Africa. She was inspired to write this story from her studies at Ramtha's School of Enlightenment. In her spare time she enjoys painting, horseback riding, and gardening.

Rating: *** Three Stars

If you are interested in purchasing this book then go to Dorrance Online Bookstore or Amazon.

This was a complimentary copy from Dorrance Publishing for my honest review.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Flashback Friday: The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

It's Friday again so it's time for me to review an older book instead of all the new releases I keep getting to review. True, Heidi sometimes reviews older books but I want a chance to as well. :) So, today I'm going to review The Goose Girl which was originally published in 2003.  I was out of high school for two years. ;)
Genre: YA- Fantasy

Review: Ani is the crowned princess and is swept off to marry a prince in another kingdom. Her lady in waiting pulls a trick and switches places with Ani and Ani is forced to be a servant to the King of this new kingdom where she knows no one. Fortunately, she has a few tricks of her own. All her life she had a special gift -- the ability to speak to animals. She has to use her own skills to find a way to get back what is properly hers.

This is a retelling of a classic fairy tale and I must admit, I love fairy tales. The Grimm version of "The Goose Girl" is quite graphic. This one is a lot better. It's the first book in the Bayern series and it's the only one I've read, unfortunately. It was a tale that Hale did a great job in bringing it to life and cause me, as the reader, to continually turn the page... after page... after page. I actually took this one on vacation with me and ignored everything else just so I could read it! Loved it

Author: Shannon Hale was born Salt Lake City, UT in '74 where she still lives with her husband and four small children. She has written six young adult books, two adult books, and has a new adult novel coming out in 2012. She also co-authored two graphic novels. I have read four of her novels (3 YA and 1 adult) and have loved every single one of them.

Rating: **** Four Stars

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Genre: Coming of Age

Review: The story follows a young boy growing up amid the modern changes in Afghanistan and forced to flee his home. The difficulty of becoming an American Citizen and learning to find success in this new world. Then returning to his native home after his childhood friend dies and the struggle to save his friend's child.

It is moving, haunting and enlightening. We see this young man grow up from a somewhat spoiled and privileged child, to having nothing and starting over in a foreign land and in the end returning to his home country to become a savior to one small child. What is there not to love? Yet, for me... I didn't.

I cannot put my finger on it. At first, I blamed my general distaste for drama stories. Life is hard enough, I don't need to read about others trials and tribulations. But I knew it was not that. I thought that perhaps it was the very serious content matter (he describes, in detail, the rape of a young man.) Yet I have read worse. I thought maybe my sensitivity to boys, having two myself, may have been a contributing factor. I don't know what it is, but I did not like this book.

Of course, one could argue that you are not supposed to like this book, given its very serious and horrible contents. Much like watching Lords of War. You aren't supposed to like the story. The goal is to learn from and grow from the story, not like it. And perhaps therein lies my problem. I found the back drop interesting enough. I knew enough about what was going on in Afghanistan and it was interesting to get more of a look into that history. But at the end of the day, I did not feel that I, as a reader, had grown.  Am I saying you should not read it? No. The story has all the elements a story is supposed to have. It clearly spoke to millions. Just not me.

Author: Khaled Hossieni was born in Afgahnistan. His family was relocated to Paris and eventually the United States (much like the character in the story.) He finished high school and went on to obtain a Bachlor's degree in Biology , then completed his medical degree from University of California's school of medicine. While working his residency at Cedar-Sinai hospital in Los Angelos, Ca. he wrote the Kite Runner.

He is a goodwill Envoy for The United Nations Refugee Agency and has a foundation, the Khaled Houseini Foundation, that provides humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan. He lives in Northern California.

Rating: *** Three out of five stars.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

How do I get all my books?

I've been asked a few times how I get all my free books. Well, a few are from publishing companies, sometimes authors come to be and ask me to review them but a lot of them are book giveaways. The book review bloggers who have been doing this longer don't really need to but my blog is still small and I've only been doing this for a few months so I need these giveaways. Here is a list of blogs hosting giveaways right now. You should check them out!! :)

Book Trailer for A Sound Among the Trees

Just a reminder: Check out the giveaway for this book!! :) You know you want it!! =o) Click here.

The Crossing by Serita Jakes

Genre: Fiction - Christian - mystery

Review: Claudia and Casio were on the bus on the way home from a football game with their teacher, BJ Remington and all the other football players and cheerleaders. Their lives are changed forever when a shooter steps onto the bus and starts killing their friends. Claudia and Casio witness the death of their favorite teacher and their lives are forever changed. Ten years later Claudia's husband, the ADA, has opened the case again to try to find BJ's murderer in hopes to cheer his wife up who is suffering from depression. Casio, who has become a police officer, offers to assist and together they work to solve this murder as Casio's life falls apart and Claudia's family gets ripped apart. Will they save their lives and their families as they try to discover the truth behind the shooting?
I really did enjoy this book. There were definitely some unexpected twists at the end. Overall though, I really enjoyed this book. It was clean and it kept me turning the page to find out what would happen. There was quite a bit of drama in this book. There are several scenarios that could hurt those sensitive to miscarriages, abuse, adultery, PTSD, and then, of course, murder. This was an "on the edge of your seat" mystery that I thoroughly enjoyed. :)

Author: Serita Jakes has been married to Bishop T.D. Jakes for nearly 30 years. She is a public speaker and relies heavily on her education in theater and mass communication.She is also the Executive Director of The Potter’s House Women’s Ministries. In 2009 she even appeared in the movie Not Easily Broken. Together, Mrs and Bishop Jakes have five children and two grandchildren.

Rating: **** Four Stars

This was a complimentary copy from Goodreads Advanced Reading Program for my honest review.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Waiting for Morning by Karen Kingsbury

Genre: Christian - Fiction

Review: Hannah Ryan sits at home, waiting for her husband and daughters to return home from a camping trip. Instead, the police show up to tell her they were hit by a drunk driver and her husband and one of her daughters were killed. Hannah then has one thing on her mind -- revenge. She wants to see the drunk driver put behind bars. In her rage at this man she somehow manages to forget her living daughter. Can Hannah find forgiveness and save the family she has left?

This was a good story. It was very depressing but it had a good message. I don't think it would be one of those stories that I'd read over and over again but it was nice to read once. Also, this is Christian Fiction and I review for a few Christian companies but this book was annoyingly "preachy". If you're one of those people who don't mind a good cry then this would be a good books for you. It will definitely make you cry and it has some very depressing parts. The reader is able to follow the journey of the widow who lost her husband and daughter, the daughter who lost her sister, father and feels the whole world wished she had died instead of her sister, the driver who made a mistake and drove while drunk resulting in casualties beyond anything he ever thought would happen and the lawyers who are passionate about what they do. It was great being able to get it from all the points of view. It made it more real and allowed me to feel more empathy to each character who made me angry because of stupid choices they were making.

Author: Kingsbury is a public speaker and a novelist.She has written over 40 novels and sold over 15 million copies. She loves to friend her readers on Twitter and Facebook. She has over 220,000 friends on Facebook and over 15,000 followers on Twitter. She also speaks at public events, reaching over 100,000 women each year.

Rating: *** Three Stars

Remember to rank this review to be entered to win your own copy of this book from the publisher. :)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Flashback Friday: Christy by Catherine Marshall

Genre: Historical Fiction/ Women's

Review: This is the story of young Christy who leaves her home to teach school in the Smokey Mountains. She soon discovers a poverty greater than she has ever known and a group of people that she absolutely falls in love with. There are also two special men in her life that she must choose between-- the doctor or the man of God?

I loved this book. The first time I read it was back in 2008. I am not sure when the book was first published but the author died before I was born so I think it counts as a flashback. :) I fell in love with it and found out there were tv shows and movies. I still haven't been able to watch all the movies but the tv show was fun to get into. The book provided so much more info into the lives and emotions of the people though. This is a delightful clean read for one of those days that you just need a break from your life and delight in someone else's.

Author: Marshall was born in Sept of 1914. By the time she graduated high school the Depression had devastated the US and her dreams for going to college seemed just that, a dream. Somehow her family managed to save up the money to get her through Agnes Scott College in Atlanta. She married Peter Marshall in 1936 and they had their first and only child, Jon, in 1940. "Her most well-known writing, however, is the best-selling novel Christy, about her mother, Leonora Whitaker [Christy], who left her comfortable home in Asheville, North Carolina, to live and teach at the Presbyterian mission in Morgan Branch [Cutter Gap], Tennessee. Catherine Marshall died in 1983."

Rating: **** Four Stars

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Eye of the Hunter By Dennis L. McKiernan

Genre: Fantasy

Review: The Eye of the Hunter is an oldie but a goodie! It was published in 1992. I got it for a quarter in a garage sale. It was my first introduction to fantasy and I loved it!! When I got older and read J.R.R. Tolkien, I realized that McKiernan was obviously a fan! Sadly, I read this story over and over until the pages were falling out. I recently got a couple of boxes of books from a friend who was going digital and was super-excited to find not one, but two copies of Eye of the Hunter in his collection! Of course, I had to re-read it! I loved it yet again!

McKiernan develops this fantastical world that often feels more real than your own. For hardcore fantasy fans, he sticks to common fantasy themes, so there is not an awkward moment where you have to adapt from other fantasy worlds to his. The story flows so beautifully and the characters are so real. As a child I was in love with Aaravan! Riatha shaped my perceptions of the type of woman I wanted to be; strong, elegant, a protector of others. Gwilly always makes me laugh and cry and Faeril was my best friend. B'arr was a amazing and Baron Stoke haunted most of my nightmares! This is a must-read for anyone even remotely interested in fantasy!!

Author: Dennis L. McKiernan was born in Missouri, served in the military and then obtained a bachelors degree in electrical engineering from the University of Missouri. He went on to get an M.S. of the same from Duke university and worked for the phone companies. He did not begin his career as a writer until after a major accident. During his recuperation time he wrote what was meant to be a continuation to the Tolkien series, but the Tolkien estate would not allow it. His agents asked him to change some things and make it his own and they would go ahead and publish it. Hence the Mithgar series was born. Eye of the Hunter is apparently the seventh in the Mithgar series. (ahh, the things I learn! Now I will have to go back and collect them all!!) Despite the fact that many feel he has simply ripped off Tolkien, I strongly recommend his work!!

**** four (and a 1/2?) out of five stars ( because there is no such thing as the perfect book!)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Burmese Refugees: Letters from the Thai-Burma Border edited by TF Rhoden and TLS Rhoden

Genre: Non-Fiction

Review: TF Rhoden taught English to the refugees. He gave them an assignment to write a few paragraphs about themselves but what he was handed in was far from what he expected. He edited them enough for the reader to understand them but they are not perfect b/c Rhoden felt it was important to keep the writers "voice" in the letters. I love it like that. It seemed more real. These people went through so much.
I love the way that it's organized. The Rhoden brothers were very careful to make sure that someone like me, who knows nothing about what's going on over in Asia, understands what happens in this story and can follow the struggles and events that happen. It is very moving and makes me so grateful for my life and for my country. A few of the students were learning English to get to the USA because of how well our government runs, apparently. I hear people complain about our government all the time but compared to areas like this, we truly are blessed. I am so glad that I read this book because it gave me a better perspective of my situation. My house is small, money is tight, some days my children drive me up the wall but I truly am blessed and have it so easy. I am very grateful that Rhoden decided to share these letters with the world.

Editor: There is really so much information on these two that I'm just going to give you links. They truly have the background to put this books together. and

Rating: **** Four Stars

I received a complimentary copy of this book through the Goodreads Advanced Readers program for my honest review.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Skin Map (Bright Empire Series Bk 1) by Stephen R. Lawhead

Genre: Science Fiction/Adventure

Review: Kit is an average Londoner who has average problems. He isn't really happy with anything in his life but nothing is horrible either. Then, after a series of very bad luck on the metro system or "tube" he bumps into someone he never expected to see -- his great grandfather. Of course, after doing the math the man should have been over 125 years old. Suddenly, Kit finds himself with his grandfather in another world in another time using the ley lines (dimension and time jumps). Together, they go on an adventure to find the skin map that is a map of the ley lines that has been tattooed to the skin of a fellow "Questor".

This was a fun read. The only problem that I had with it was the fact that I kept getting confused. There are quite a few characters and a lot of jumping in time and locations and I tended to get confused. I am also sometimes a bit ditzy so that could have something to do with it as well. Overall, this was a great adventure with plenty of suspense and humor mingled in it as well. To see the review on The Bone House (the sequel) click here.

Author:  Lawhead was born in Nebraska in 1950. His childhood was spent around the U.S. and then he later earned his degree in Fine Arts and spent two years in school for theology. He started full time writing in 1981 and has since written many books. He and his wife, Alice, live in Oxford England and he is father of two boys.

Rating:  **** Four Stars

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Saturday, October 1, 2011

GIVEAWAY!! A Sound Among the Trees by Susan Meissner

"A house shrouded in time.
A line of women with a heritage of loss.

As a young bride, Susannah Page was rumored to be a Civil War spy for the North, a traitor to her Virginian roots. Her great-granddaughter Adelaide, the current matriarch of Holly Oak, doesn’t believe that Susannah’s ghost haunts the antebellum mansion looking for a pardon, but rather the house itself bears a grudge toward its tragic past.
When Marielle Bishop marries into the family and is transplanted from the arid west to her husband’s home, it isn’t long before she is led to believe that the house she just settled into brings misfortune to the women who live there.
With Adelaide’s richly peppered superstitions and deep family roots at stake, Marielle must sort out the truth about Susannah Page and Holly Oak— and make peace with the sacrifices she has made for love.  "

To see my review go here.

To enter, fill out the form below. You have until 10/31/11 at 11:59 PM Eastern to enter. Shipping address must be in the U.S., you must be at least 13 years of age and be a follower in some way (GFC, twitter, goodreads, or FB).